blogging, books, Fantasy fiction, reading, writing, Young Adult fiction

Featuring Indie Authors

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Yeah, I kind of have to mention myself, since I am a self-published author. But, while including myself in this list, I want to take today to focus on those of us who work really hard to produce good quality fiction for the public to consume, often while holding down a day job or going to school, raising a family, living a non-writing life at the same time. And most of us do our own editing and marketing as well, and trust me, this is no easy task, either. Anyway, my point today is — just because we don’t have a team of editors/designers/advertisers paid big bucks behind us doesn’t mean our work isn’t worth reading. And I’m going to spotlight some of the indie authors I’ve read that prove this.

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This author is American but currently resides in Spain, and he’s a teacher, and managed, on top of all this busy real-life stuff, to create a very well-thought-out and interesting world and premise. The editing is superb — in looks alone, this novel is professional in every way. The writing is thorough, the content is appropriate for teen readers as well as adults, and for fans of Narnia, Middle Earth, and Wonderland, Where the Woods Grow Wild feels like a fun romp across all of them. Nate Philbrick is now putting up a new novel on Wattpad.

You can visit him at: https://youwritefiction.wordpress.com/

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The Assassin’s Daughter is another prime example of an indie author taking great care and effort with her manuscript. The finished product is beautifully clean on the page, and the writing and character development shows the time and passion she poured into creating this fictional world and growing close to her narrators. The world in this novel feels familiar, yet has its own twists and is a unique, fitting setting to the story. Jameson C. Smith has plans for a sequel as well.

You can find her at: https://www.jamesoncsmith.com/

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The first in the Beaumont and Beasley series, The Beast of Talesend is a great amount of fun, with a really clever sense of humor and a twist on the idea of fairytales and magic being real or not. Kyle Shultz has plans for more books set in this world, and he’s currently working on an audio version of the first release.

You can visit him at: http://kylerobertshultz.com/

I’d also like to try releases by Ichabod Temperance (https://www.amazon.com/Ichabod-Temperance/e/B00J71862M/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1), Alexis P. Johnson (http://www.phoenicianrises.com/), and Nadine Brandes (http://nadinebrandes.com/). All of these authors maintain a social media presence, they’re very approachable and won’t bite, and their work sounds very interesting, refreshing, just fun, or all of the above.

And now, because, I’m sorry, but it is my blog, here’s a moment of shameless self-promotion:

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Not to toot my own horn too much, but Masters and Beginners, the first in my YA fantasy series The Order of the Twelve Tribes is receiving very good support/acclaim on Goodreads, and for this I am intensely grateful and humbled. If you’d like to purchase a copy, please contact me (details can be found under my header or in the sidebar). I have a paperback for sale, as well as a digital edition, and there are still the limited edition mini-subscription boxes available.

Okay, I won’t ramble on about myself too much. Do check out all these other authors, and support their art!

blogging, books, Encouragement, reading

Reading Slumps

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What’s a reading slump? Only the most terrible thing in the world, ever, for a bookdragon. And yet, they are inevitable. Every now and again, you’ll realize that you just don’t feel like reading anything.

Your usual styles/authors/subjects just aren’t sparking interest. You feel terribly bored, or let down by a genre, or you simply crave something different, yet every new book you take a look at feels destined to fall flat.

Now that I’ve struck terror into the very depth of your souls…

Here are some ideas on how to get through a reading slump.

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Don’t push yourself too much. If you feel like you should be reading, there’s simply no need to feel that way. A major reason I’ve decided not to do ARCS is because I don’t want to be on a deadline and not inspired to read the work in question. Even as an author, someone who relies on volunteer reviewers getting a critique out in a timely manner, I still totally support bloggers who choose to limit the number of ARCS they include in their schedule.

Try something outside of your usual loves. If you tend to gravitate towards contemporaries, pick up a historical fiction. Not sure if steampunk is your thing? Give it a go. Never read a James Patterson or a Kristin Hannah? It’s what the library is for.

It’s actually okay not to read anything for a bit. Yes, you heard that right. If you go for a few days, or even a few weeks, without finishing that novel on your shelf that you started last year, truly, the world will not end, I promise.

Attempt a re-read. Not sure anymore what happened in book 5 of Harry Potter? Book 3 of Percy Jackson? Do you have Me Before You or A Monster Calls marked as “read it” on your Goodreads account, but you’re honestly not sure if you’re just thinking of the film versions now?

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Now, what about this dreaded prospect?: You’re a book blogger, so putting new content on your site kind of makes it necessary that you read new stuff. Well, in the event of a reading slump, I have you covered there, too.

Find a related topic to discuss. Like a trend in publishing that bugs you — like if there are dystopias everywhere, or road trip novels, but you’d really prefer to see an uptake in pirate stories or new sorts of mythological/legend re-tellings.

If you like to do tags, catch up on a few of those. Or join a weekly theme that doesn’t rely on recently completing a new read. Top 10 Tuesdays are usually good for this, because the theme often relates to books you’ve already finished.

Consider reviewing a book you read a long time ago that you decided not to review before. Maybe because it was a novel outside of your usual genre, or was it a biography, or a collection of poetry? There’s no rule about the type of reading we “have” to be reviewing.

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The most important thing to do is: don’t panic. It really is all right — and probably natural — to hit a reading slump. And it happens for all kinds of reasons — whether your life is busy, or the latest publishing trends just aren’t your thing, or even looking at a towering TBR makes you go, “Meh.”

One day, this will be over. I promise.

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books, reading, writing

How to Choose a Genre for Your Book

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So, you’ve written a novel. And survived to share the news! Congratulations! What next? Are you hoping to share it with others? Okay, go for it — self-publish or put it on Wattpad or something. Now, here’s the really hard part after writing and editing — marketing.

What’s the hardest part of marketing? “Tell me what your book is about.”

Many indie authors I see around the blogisphere have compared writing a summary of their novel/series with being tortured, suffering through a prolonged illness, or feeling that their very soul has been ripped out and displayed to the whole world.

In other words — it seems so easy (to the naive general public), but deciding what your novel is “about” can be almost impossible.

Here’s a major reason why — selecting the genre it belongs to. Genres are something apparently contrived by publishers to torture writers. “Genre” means a category. Humans love to put things in categories. But writers find “genre” a bit tedious, because, honestly, really good stories don’t follow a checklist of standards; they cross borders and fall into more than one genre. We often don’t like feeling limited by sticking to the expectations of a category.

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So, here’s how to decide which genres your novel falls into:

Consider the major elements of the story. Is the focus of the plot on solving a crime? (mystery) Is it set in outerspace? (science fiction) Does your world include inhabitants such as dragons, mages, and talking horses? (fantasy)

But do think about things like setting and premise as well — Is your sci-fi novel actually set in Victorian London? (historical fiction and steampunk) Are your characters solving a who-done-it they stumbled over on their honeymoon? (romance) Has your Narnia-inspired Earth actually come to be after a post-armageddon event circa 2234? (dystopia)

Don’t worry one bit about writing in more than one genre. Nowadays, readers are hungry for less-formulaic fiction, and the industry is catching on. On Goodreads, my first publication is listed under fantasy, YA, and contemporary, because yes, it’s about faeries and mythology, but it’s set in present day, and the target audience is ages 13 and up. You’ll actually reach more potential readers by writing a historical fiction murder mystery, or a dystopian romance.

Above all, stay true to the voice of your story. This is the most helpful “professional” advice I’ve received on writing. Stop worrying about what your novel “should” be in terms of trends or what your favorite authors are currently producing. Concentrate on the story you’re telling. If you just know it has to be a contemporary, or has to be fantasy, to properly explore the growth of the characters and who they’re meant to become, then stick to it.

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How to determine the age classification. This simply means, who’s it for? Is the intended reader an adult, a teenager, or a kid? And how you reach this conclusion should not be based on the age of the narrator or the protagonist. For example, The Book Thief and The Hunger Games are labeled juvenile fiction, purely because the narrators are very young, but the content and the subjects within those pages are very, very serious and not easy for juvenile minds to comprehend. It may actually be harmful for people under the age of 16 to read such books. The same with the Throne of Glass series, which you’ll find on sale or in the library next to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but has explicit sexual references.

(Go back to step one: Staying true to the voice of your story.)

As a parent, I really wanted to write something that I’d feel comfortable having my own kids read — now, not when they’re adults. For a few years, I toyed with the idea of making my series NA (new adult, ages 18 and up), but eventually I decided to make it YA (and a solid YA, acceptable for middle-schoolers to read). But there’s plenty for older teens and even adults to enjoy. My content is pretty conservative, so for adults who don’t care for tons of violence or sex or swearing in their fiction (like myself), there’s still adventure and mystery and some romance and clean humor. Although The Order of the Twelve Tribes can be found under YA, it still works for a broad audience.

Hope all of this helps our future bestselling authors! Happy writing!

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art, blogging, books, Fantasy fiction, reading, writing, Young Adult fiction

How to Make Those Pesky Tropes Work for You

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Yes, you read that right. For those of us in the know, we cringe when we see the word “trope” in a book review. For those of us scratching our heads and wondering what the heck I’m going on about, a “trope” simply means an overused theme in fiction, and some authors apparently devote entire series to using as many of them as possible. And they are more prevalent in certain genres than others (YA, anybody?), and fantasy fiction has been falling prey to them lately.

But just the existence of a trope isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Generally it indicates that a particular theme or idea is popular, so, as an author, you may consider including popular things that your audience may be asking for. (If, you know, you want to actually sell your work.) However, this can also backfire very easily, when too many people write a trope in too short a span of time, and then the audience gets tired of it.

So, how can we authors take advantage of some tropes that may actually a) fit our story, b) we in fact like them? Here are a few thoughts on how to shake it up and stay true to our cause of producing unique work.

To begin with, remember that no one’s book is truly original, and that’s totally okay. We’re all influenced by the storytellers to come before us. We’re living in an advanced age of humanity, there’s a lot of influence to draw on. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t seem to come up with something that hasn’t been seen on this planet yet. It depends on what you do with your influences, as to how unique your writing is.

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Tried-and-true tropes that just need a different spin to still be successful:

Examples: the love triangle, insta-“love”, the chosen one (or, the “special snowflake”), bad/absent parents, and throwing every kind of tragedy conceivable at the hero/heroine.

Okay, let’s start with the love triangle and “insta-love.” When it comes to YA fic, these can be dangerous if portrayed in a way that suggests falling into complete love with the first person you lock eyes with at a party is normal, or that not only will you have one potential boy/girlfriend but you’ll fact have 5, all fighting over you. Is it impossible to believe that — especially in close social circles, as teens tend to have — more than one person would have a crush on the same girl/boy? Nope, not at all. But does this inevitably result in pistols at dawn? Good grief, no. We’re in the 21st century here. And might you be at a party only because your friend begged you to go, and over by the punch bowl you see a totally attractive person with a great smile and a fantastic dress sense, and in your head go, “OH MY GOSH, I LOVE THEM”? Yeah, of course. But that does not mean they’re about to propose and buy you a sailboat and pounds of chocolate and novels. And it is very important to make the difference clear to impressionable young people.

In The Order of the Twelve Tribes, I included romantic situations that the adolescents involved are possibly over-thinking how serious it is, and that’s actually quite a healthy lesson for teens. (Being the parent of a 14-year-old myself, I am definitely concerned with him not planning on marrying his very first crush.) Through the rest of the series, I’ll be exploring how the couples grow as individuals, learning about themselves and what they want, along with how to be a good partner. (Which should lead to a lot less dysfunction in their adult lives…)

Anyway, so how about instead of always having one girl and two boys making fools of themselves for her affection, let’s try — a) the girl tells both of them to go away, b) after she strings them along, the guys tell her to shove off, c) it’s two girls after the same boy who ultimately decide being friends with each other is more valuable.

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Moving on to the dreaded chosen one, aka the special snowflake. It became a big deal with Harry Potter, and therefore a bit jaded soon after, as there were a plethora of trilogies or series (The Maze Runner, Divergent, Legend, Percy Jackson) released in quick succession focusing a variation on that theme. The unique thing about Harry Potter was that he didn’t know he was considered the “chosen one,” and had never thought of himself as anything special. Then he rose to the challenge, anyway — even though we found out in book 7 that it was never confirmed Harry was the chosen one.

Now, that’s a twist. So, how about more twists? Instead of the chosen one being groomed from birth (think King Arthur), he/she — a) avoids their “destiny” at all costs, by running away to a far land to herd llamas, b) turns out not to be amazing and powerful but really rubbish, c) was mistaken for the real fated hero, but decides to give it all they’ve got.

We’re up to bad or absent parents. Come on, folks, let’s do away with the way there are never any consequences for neglectful parenting in fiction — a) the family is irresponsible, so your protagonist ends up in a loving foster care situation, b) the dysfunctional home life results in a tragedy that creates intense character growth, c) we think the parents may be dead but are in fact alive, and simply in hiding to protect their offspring.

(For The Order of the Twelve Tribes, I went with the last. And for the record, when push comes to shove, she steps up to the plate.)

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And, please, let’s do stop throwing every kind of tragedy conceivable at the hero/heroine. I wrote an entire post earlier this year about how important happy endings are, even to dystopia and fantasy. (You can use the search bar to find “It Is Not Too Much To Ask For A Happy Ending” if you missed it.) Anyway, my view is that, while it’s (unfortunately) realistic to have some bad things happen to your characters, readers need to have hope and the opportunity for life to be okay for these fictional beans they’ve grown attached to. (And I will be writing this way, too. There will be losses, but not the absolute entire end to the complete and total universe. There will be love and peace as well.)

So, instead of endings like in Mockingjay and Allegiant, what about — a) broken friendships are restored, b) only half the major characters get killed (remember, most of them survived in The Deathly Hallows), c) after winning the war, rather than becoming a devastated husk of a former human being, the narrator quietly retires to a farm to raise teacup pigs and does not suffer from PTSD for the next 743 years.

Trust me, your readers will thank you.

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Autism, books, children's fiction, family, Parenting, reading

A Few Words on Children’s Books

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So, as part of my degree (Early Childhood Education), I had to take a course in Children’s Literature. Really, not that surprising when you think about it. But what did surprise me was that, on day one of the class, the professor said, “Just because it’s literature for children doesn’t mean it’s good literature.” And when you start to look at the criteria for determining the writing/reading quality of a book, this makes a lot of sense.

Throughout the 20th century, there was much debate among families and educators about what counted as “good” children’s books. As a parent (before I was a teacher), this is a subject that was constantly on my mind in bookstores and school book fairs and libraries. There really is a lot to consider. Is the style age appropriate? Does it fit with where your child is developmentally? Will the content have lasting meaning? Much more than just, “Oh, these pictures are cool.”

And even books are not one size fits all. Autistic children may be very picky readers. They may take issue with everything from the look of the illustrations (are they too bright? too unrealistic? too simple and boring?) to the content of the text (if it makes them sad, will they actually have a breakdown over it?).

When was younger, it didn’t take me long to figure out that I had a very sensitive constitution, and reading about certain topics were just plain off limits (for example, animal cruelty, war, people with terminal illnesses). This means I do not (and probably never will) read publications such as Stone Fox, The One and Only Ivan, Bridge to Terabithia, and Shiloh, and most likely shall continue to avoid them all at costs. (We were assigned The Giver one semester, and I literally threw it at the wall after 50 pages.)

But, (thankfully), there are still plenty of books that I can read to my own kids, that I think are great for all kinds of children, and that I’d definitely recommend as a parent and as a teacher.

Exhibit A: Dr. Seuss.

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Anyone who says Dr. Seuss is “outdated” because “nonsensical wording is harmful to the development of our children’s brains” has obviously never interacted with an actual human child. They do nonsense things on a regular basis. They use words that do not exist in mortal tongues. They take pride in this behavior. So, quite frankly, we should build more statues and grant more awards to the man who figured out just how to speak their language, and then was kind enough to write it down so that parents could get in on the gig.

Exhibit B: Diversity stories that focus much more on the story than “look, it has diversity”.

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In the mid 20th century, a whole lot of picture books were about Johnny and Jane, riding their bikes in the field while Daddy went to his office job and Mommy baked cupcakes all day. Simply not relatable to a ton of the American population after about 1900. So, when picture books including all the ethnic groups and city life and single parents who were janitors started becoming a real thing, many people were happy about it, as they should be. Books that simply represent different cultures or societies as a natural part of the story (like the works of Ezra Jack Keats, or the Knufflebunny tales) are very valuable to increasing literacy and growing tolerance.

Exhibit C: Animals behaving like people to teach kids everyday lessons.

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One of my personal favorites for White Fang was Franklin. This little turtle was just an average guy, trying to get through very normal mishaps like a misunderstanding with a friend, not wanting to follow a rule, or being nervous about starting something new. Now he’s considered a classic, along with the creations of Sandra Boynton and Suzanne Bloom, all still very relatable choices for internet-era munchkins. The fantastic thing about using animals instead of people is that kids from all sorts of backgrounds connect to the feelings and situations, without there being an obvious ethnic/cultural gap.

Exhibit D: Books that use metaphors or symbolism discreetly.

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Little kids don’t like allegory. They don’t understand it, it doesn’t have meaning, and it often leads to MG/YA students resenting whole genres (or even reading itself), for adults trying to force it on them. That’s why a story like Where the Wild Things Are — which targets Max’s bad behavior and his desire for control, the consequences of his breaking the rules and his plan to escape, his eventual acceptance of the situation, and his mother’s forgiveness of the mischief, all within the idea that he may or may not have visited a remote island of monsters — is brilliant.

(And if you weren’t aware of the deeper meanings to that story, find a copy and re-read it for yourself.)

Exhibit E: Characters that have ongoing appeal, and therefore, significance to many generations.

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Just because Winnie the Pooh and friends first appeared nigh on a hundred years ago doesn’t mean kids today don’t understand the silly ol’ bear. The same goes for so many other “dated” tales, especially where the focus was always much more on things like friendship, problem solving, and considering the feelings of others, than the time period the original author wrote in. After all, there are some things we hope to teach every generation, regardless of whether they’re living in the 1980s or the 2020s.

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Autism, blogging, books, cats, children's fiction, Fantasy fiction, reading, Young Adult fiction

Warriors Update: The Prequel, The New Series, and Upcoming Extras

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Wow, it’s been, what, approximately 364 years since I did a Warriors update? (Please, no one double check the archives for an actual date. I just know it was a while back.) Anyway, I was doing really well at posting pretty regular updates with my progress on this epic. Then I hit the snag of: I joined NaNoWriMo, I was trying to get Volume 1 published, and I wanted to read other things (not just juvenile fiction) for a little bit.

And (moment of personal weakness being admitted here) I got really, really nervous about how I’d feel about the prequel series, Dawn of the Clans. So, I’ve been avoiding it. Yes, I know, bookdragon sin committed. But the further we go into the advancing of the new series (more on that in a minute), the more I’m realizing that the authors are definitely hinting at: we are about to come full circle. The whole series will probably soon draw to a close.

(Of course, everybody also thought that after The Last Hope — book 6 of Omen of the Stars, which we all figured was going to be the conclusion. Then last year the publisher started releasing A Vision of Shadows.)

So, anyway, what I’m indicating is this — I am an intense bookdragon when it comes to Warriors, and the idea of it all actually, officially coming to an end… Sorry, that distorted sound you hear in the background is aching, broken, Vulcan tears.

Yes, I am totally aware I could just start re-reading from the very beginning — and catch up on all those novellas, super-editions, field guides, and manga I am behind on. (Never let it be said that this publisher leaves their fans wanting more.)

But my point at the moment is: An unfortunate part of being an autistic bookdragon is struggling more than the average bookworm when a favorite series finishes. (And don’t we all know that this earth-shattering event is difficult enough to deal with?!) So, I’m honestly hoping (probably a bit too strongly) that the authors develop a spinoff somewhere in the near future (like, by 2018).

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Also, Warriors is the only series that has totally sucked in my heart and soulAfter I completed The Prophecies Begin (the first 6-book set in what became the much greater series), I sat in a daze for about three hours, and had these thoughts: How in the world am I ever going to read anything else, ever again? Nothing can possibly compare now. And, how can I write something even a tenth as good?”

These authors found a way to make you care, deeply, passionately, obsessively, about what happens to this group of fictional feral cats. Most adults would see that it’s told from the animals’ point of view, and that it’s labeled as juvenile fiction, and go, “Okay, a fun thing for the kids,” and never think of picking it up themselves. But trust me, Warriors has more than enough drama, heartfelt moments, and subtle discussions on serious issues to satisfy “grown-up” readers, too.

I’ve waxed poetic about this series in several other posts. My obsession — er, my devotion still stands. Recently, we received #3 of A Vision of Shadows (the newest set of will-be-6 consecutive novels) on the actual release day (because I was smart and pre-ordered for a change). White Fang got it first (because I’m nice like that); but will be getting #4 first. Trying to get him not to give me spoilers was a NIGHTMARE.

Here’s White Fang reading it in his room: “WHAT?!?! NOOOO…. OH MY GOSH!!! Twigpaw!!! Onestar!!!”

Here’s me in my kitchen (with my hands over my ears): “LALALALALALA…”

Yes, really, I’m almost 38 years old.

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And here’s White Fang about once a month: “You know, Mom, you haven’t finished Dawn of the Clans yet.”

And I bought him the box set as a late birthday present, so now I don’t have the excuse of having to wait for the library to have them all in.

Blast it.

On top of all this, I have successfully whittled down my Goodreads TBR to almost nothing. I actually completed my GR challenge, before May, people! So now I’m down to only a few more re-reads I wanted to do in 2017, and then I…I will actually have nothing new to read.

We all know this is the absolute worst scenario for a bookdragon.

Except, with the entire set of Dawn of the Clans sitting there on White Fang’s shelves…

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Hey, on the plus side, when I do finish it, I can write a post about it (and how much it destroyed me).

Then I’ll be able to wipe away the guilt from my conscience because I don’t get the references in the fan art for the prequel.

But then, what will I write next about Warriors? Because I know the next instalment isn’t for sale until November (sob!!!).

Uh, super-editions, novellas, field guides, manga, that I just mentioned a few paragraphs above?

Okay, I get it; I’ll stop being such a baby.

Look for a review of Dawn of the Clans to hit this space in the near future.

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blogging, books, Fantasy fiction, reading, Young Adult fiction

Top 10 Tuesday: Actual Book Dragon Problems

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Back again for the weekly meme! (Hey, I’ve hit a new record — 4 weeks or something?!)

We’ve all seen the hashtag making the rounds on Twitter: #bookdragonproblems, or #bookwormproblems. But what, you may be asking yourself, are the real problems we readers face?

Wonder no more! Today I present you with the official list…

1. Not liking the new releases everybody else is enthralled with. Okay, I may seem to be contradicting myself, since in recent posts, I’ve insisted it’s okay not to like a really popular author/series. But it is honestly really sad when all of your blogging/social media friends are flailing in extreme happiness over a book that for you is just, “…meh.” Trust me, it results in an identity crisis and the sudden disorder of needing to stay up all night reading this exact book under the covers with a flashlight to assuage your guilt. And then you still don’t like it, anyway. Ugh, the torture…

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2. Loving a series until Point X. Translation — you finish the first instalment of a new series and are IN COMPLETE AND UTTER LOVE. You tell everyone you know (even people you don’t like) to read this trilogy/quad/set of totally amazing novels. You buy the merch, you pin a Tweet advertising it, you yell about it in all caps every time you make a new blog post. And then…the 3rd or 4th or 5th book is released, and it RUINS the whole series for you. Either there’s a ridiculous plot twist you don’t agree with one iota, or your favorite character dies suddenly and without justification, or you find out the author in fact supports redecorating the entire Earth with plastic flamingos. And it just makes you throw things and hide behind the curtains and wonder how you can ever show your face in the blogisphere again.

3. Direct sequels not being printed in the same size as the original. This is, quite frankly, an odd decision on the part of publishers. But it happens on a pretty regular basis. And I’m not even talking about hardcover vs. paperback. When you have a bunch of paperbacks from the same series that measure differently, it can wreak havoc on keeping your bookshelves organized. And if that isn’t a tragedy, then I don’t know what is.

4. Cover changes by country. Why do covers have to change depending whether you live in the USA, England, Australia, Germany, France, Japan, or on Neptune? And what if, for example, you like the British cover and you live in the USA, where it isn’t available? ARGH…

5. New editions of your old favorites. See the new Warriors covers below as Exhibit A. White Fang and I LOVE this series, and we’re eager to (read: obsessed with) acquire any new releases. We actually like the new covers for the releases of the boxed sets. BUT it creates quite the conundrum when it comes to making sure there’s enough room on the shelves, and not making the original books feel unloved. (Can you hear that? Does it sound like a tiny fictional cat crying? DON’T PANIC, sweet original illustration, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING. Ahem…)

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6. Typos in printings that were supposedly edited and proofread. Especially when they’ve come from a big-name publisher that has tons of money to throw at these tasks. It is honestly one of my pet peeves, to be happily reading along, and then there’s an obvious mistake that someone (who was being paid to do this) should’ve caught.

7. Simply the cost of books. Since I’m not an e-reader (I prefer having the copy in hand, and being able to better adjust the lighting falling on the text, etc. — plus I don’t even own a Kindle or something right now), I have to try to acquire physical copies of reading material. And have you seen the price of a new hardcover?! Seriously, why is it so high? Are they funding new palaces on Pluto or something?

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8. When the library simply doesn’t have the selections you want. So here I am, trying to be a responsible parent and spend money on diapers and cat food and not on books. My first plan is to contact the library and place as many hold requests as I am allowed between now and 2018. However, the library system is trying to catalogue books in all the different genres, not just my favorites, and they have to spread the budget out a little more. So, it’s just a statistical fact, if there are 10 books on my TBR, the local library will only be able to obtain 5 of them.

9. Wanting to read every new author, title, style in your genre. This makes the conundrums even worse. There’s an awesome-sounding new release that you just can’t afford. Or a sequel that is about to disappoint you in new and shocking ways. Or you never read historical fiction, but one of your preferred authors just published an epic mid-19th-century re-imagining of Puss in Boots as a pirate off the coast of China. And you must read them all now.

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10. When a favorite author is no longer writing. When Terry Pratchett died, I literally cried for 3 days. Me, the half-Vulcan. But he was one of the few NT humans I’ve run across who just understood so much. How he wrote, how he presented his characters, his plots, his points of view made me feel…well, not completely alone in the universe. So, his passing was a bit of a blow, even though I didn’t know him personally.

And although I fully supported JK Rowling’s decision to end Harry Potter and only write for adults now, as I finished the last 50 pages of Deathly Hallows, there was a definite sense of sadness not just because of all the fictional dying, but because of the very real end that was coming in terms of publishing the series. Sometimes it’s a real challenge to pick yourself up and go find a new series or author that will fill that hole in your heart.

And there we have it! Any you’d care to add, fellow readers?

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